Running an event can be an expensive, time-consuming process. Often, you won’t have the resources to onboard people for every single event staffing need and have a positive ROI. Luckily, finding event volunteers isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
But how many do you need? After all, if you will put the time into recruiting volunteers, you should probably make sure you recruit enough to man your event, right? The last thing you want is to have positions fall through the crack. That can turn your event day into a straight-up nightmare. Who doesn’t want to plan an event and man the cotton candy stand on the same day?
If you’re raising your hand, this post is for you. Here are all primary positions you should think about when you’re out recruiting volunteers.
1. The Gate
Depending on your event size, you need at least one volunteer manning registration and ticket sales. Look for someone who is friendly, personable, and can keep everything organized. This can be a high-stress area, and volunteers here will most likely run into some not-so-happy customers who have been ripped off, forget their ticket or complaining if the lines are moving slowly.
For many events, parking can be a serious headache. You should have at least two people in the parking area (depending on the space).
That way, one person can lead people to the event if they can’t find it themselves, but you always want someone in the parking lot. People WILL have questions starting here and traffic WILL need to be directed to a degree. So, assess your parking space, estimated guest count, to determine how many volunteers are needed for parking to make sure you fit as many cars in as possible.
If you have a big event, this should probably be a paid position. However, if you’re running a tiny event that just needs some security assistance, you can find some volunteers to help out no problem.
4. Clean Up
Tear down and clean up post-event can take longer than setup without the right assistance AND most venues require this; whether you provide the staff or they do. These volunteers are your saving grace at the end of the night. So, how many do you need? It depends on how fast you want to get done with cleanup as well as the size of your event space!
Also evaluate what they are cleaning up and tearing down. Will it require more man power. Some things to consider are:
- Event equipment and technology
- Large tents or seating areas
- Tables and booths to break down
- Number of trash bins
These volunteers are used to bring people food, beverages and/or concession items. You should try to find people with serving experience so training is minimal. But, beggars can’t be choosers in the volunteer ecosystem, so you may have to do some minor ad hoc training. You should try to keep one server per 32 attendees according to some sources.
Does your event have any booths that aren’t manned by vendors?
- Kid zones
- Games/interactive booths
- Meet & greet
- Water stations
If so, you need some volunteers to work them. Typically, you need one or two people per booth. So, if you simply have one merchandise booth, you may only need one or two extra volunteers.
The usher helps people find where they’re supposed to be; similar to information booths, but ushers are mobile. Some events will have ushers while others won’t. You can make do with two or three ushers for medium-sized events if requiring their help.
8. ID Checker/Bartenders
Are you planning on selling any alcohol? If so, you need people to serve the beer and check the IDs. You should definitely try to find volunteers with attention to detail for this part. Selling alcohol to under-aged attendees can lead to serious fines and risk shutting the entire event down. Wristbands and RFID tags can help increase visibility for your 21+ crowd.
9. First Aid
Do you need first aid volunteers? That depends. Did you hire a nurse? These are most often used at large, outdoor festivals where more risk of injury can occur.
Most event types won’t need these, but, if you do, we recommend having one volunteer per 100 people at the event. It's great to have a central location where guests can seek help for anything minor to big injuries. It also is easier to be alerted when someone is hurt because they are coming to your booth.
To help make sure that your bases are covered, you should always have some floaters ready. These are volunteers that can perform any job on an as-needed basis if extra help is required. You might think you have all your ducks in a row, but if something is more crowded than you predicted you will always have a few extra hands where needed. We recommend one floater per 10 volunteers.
Having an event registration software manage your event takes away half the battle and stress of event planning. If you're a nonprofit looking for ways to save money on event planning, seeking volunteers is a good place to start. Purplepass Ticketing also offers a discount to all their nonprofits; learn more below!